Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Men in Black at Rostock

WE'VE probably seen similar things elsewhere. We may not always have known it, until we thought about it afterwards. The mystery guys who turn up in a demonstration, and try to turn it into something else. The fellow who flings a pebble from behind the crowd, or even passes you a brickbat, having geed people up about the police. Only when they move in, he has gone.

Seems they were caught at it during the G8 summit in Germany, according to Victor Grossman, in MR zine on line (extracts):
"The G-8 Summit and the Provocateurs, or Coming through the Rye"
Grossman, an American who has lived in Germany for some time, says that on June 5 a large group of protesters defied the restrictions on movement keeping them away from the "Mollie", the narrow-gauge railway that had been reserved for summit attendees and a swank hotel nearby.

"Opponents of globalization, warners about atmospheric warming, supporters of the poor people of the world against the leaders of the wealthy countries outflanked police cordons and marched through fields of rye to block off the Mollie tracks for as long as they were able. Like those blocking nearby roads, they were committed to action, but to peaceful, non-violent action. Or at least most of them were.

"For months, but especially for the last four or five weeks, most German media had been beating the terrorist drums, warning about the violent youngsters from across Europe who were out for trouble, and why they must be stopped. Houses were searched, computers and other equipment seized, arrests were made, and there had been an endless series of changes on where and when demonstrations were to be permitted or forbidden, especially near the miles of high fencing topped with barbed-wire surrounding the conference site and larded with state-of-the-art electronic warning systems.

"The changes continued up to the last moment and beyond, resulting in great confusion, near hysteria in the media, a somewhat smaller turnout than expected (80,000 showed up in the end), but a resolute decision by most protest participants to keep cool heads and not be provoked.

"Among the crowd now determined to stop the Mollie were some from the so-called "Black Bloc," protesters dressed in black clothes with hoods who had not pledged to non-violent tactics, and who had been involved in tough clashes with the police on the first day of the anti-G-8 protests on Saturday. These had provided the expected giant headlines, the one-sided and exaggerated reports in most of the media. But here they seemed peaceful. The group which had crossed through the fields so dramatically wanted to avoid giving the police new opportunities to move in with their batons, water cannon, and the new big cages for arrestees.

"But something was funny about four members of the black-clad contingent. One of them, possibly the leader of the little group, wore a jacket with the red logo of a music group called "Slip-Knot," popular with globalization opponents. This was unusual, since the others avoided any details which would make them easily identifiable on police videos. And then, as the line of cops took up position nearby, ready to end the blockade, it was these four who started picking up stones from between the railroad tracks and lobbing them over towards the police and shouting, "Get the bulls"!

"Then one of the other protesters took a good look at the young man with the logo before he had a chance to pull up his bandana mask. 'That's the same fellow who arrested me during a demonstration in Bremen last year!' he cried, and he and his friends made a grab for the four. Two of the four made it to police lines, one disappeared, but they caught the one with the red logo, presumably the leader. They did not treat him exactly gently, it must be admitted, but one of the group organizers took hold of the man, sheltering him from the crowd, and dragged him over and delivered him to the police line -- and safety.

"Although this episode ended the stone throwing, the police started up with their water cannon anyway, excuse or no excuse.

"This was not the only indication that the police were using agents provocateurs, but it was the clearest and most dramatic. Confronted with the facts, the authorities admitted having their men in black clothing ("fresh from the clothing store," it was claimed by protesters), but insisted stubbornly that that they had been there only to observe what was going on, not to take part or provoke trouble. The facts proved otherwise".

Thanks to Victor Grossman, http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/grossman140607.html
and to Greek blogger
Histologian (http://histologion.blogspot.com/2007/06/men-in-black-police-contingent-agents.html)
and Renegade Eye (http://advant.blogspot.com/) for drawing my attention to this report.



Post a Comment

<< Home